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Catholic Carnival 104 is up. I submitted a post, but I’ll make you check the link to find out which one it is.

Enjoy!

Who says Catholics don’t know the Bible? H/T to Brian.

You know the Bible 93%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses – you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Fr. Reggie Foster is the best Latin teacher around. I hope that someday I will get the opportunity to spend a summer studying Latin with him. I will have to get a lot better at it than I am now.

I don’t know what got into him with some of these quotes. Although he is known to be pretty liberal and rough around the edges, I doubt he said some of the things he is quoted as saying.

From the Telegraph:

For years it was derided by unwilling schoolboys for being “as dead as dead could be”. Now, despite the Vatican’s best efforts, the Pope’s top adviser on Latin has reluctantly joined them by saying the language of St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas is almost extinct.

“It is dying in the Church. I’m not optimistic about Latin. The young priests and bishops are not studying it,” said Fr Reginald Foster, 68, a Carmelite friar who was appointed the Papal Latinist 38 years ago by Pope Paul VI.

He said priests were no longer compelled to study Latin at seminaries, and now found it impossible to read vital theological tracts.

“You cannot understand St Augustine in English. He thought in Latin. It is like listening to Mozart through a jukebox,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. “We still speak Latin in the elevators and around the house in my monastery at San Pancrazio, just like 45 years ago. But nowadays the students don’t get it, and I don’t blame them – it’s not their fault.”

Yet even though Fr Foster, who has translated speeches and letters for four popes, says he can see no future for the language, he has just launched a new Latin Academy in Rome, near the Pantheon, in his final effort to prevent it from dying out. He hopes to attract 130 students a year, though he will not say how the new school is being funded.

Originally from Milwaukee, Fr Foster is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost Latin scholars and until recently taught a hugely popular course at Rome’s Jesuit-run Gregorian University.

He spends his mornings at the Vatican, in an office just along the corridor from Pope Benedict. Outside his door, he has reprogrammed a Vatican cash machine to display instructions in Latin: “Inserito scidulam quaeso ut faciundum cognoscas rationem” – which, translated loosely, means: “Insert your card so that the account may be recognised.”

He said: “I’m not the boss, but I’m the oldest. I translated Deus Caritas Est, the last encyclical. We do bishops’ appointments, which are still written on papyrus in Latin, and letters of congratulations from the Pope.”

Although Pope Benedict grew up with Latin, and is fluent in the language, Fr Foster said he did not “have time” to compose and translate the hundreds of documents that the Vatican issues. Paul VI insisted on greater use of Latin within the Vatican, but Fr Foster said more junior members of the Catholic hierarchy were less enthusiastic now.

“I’m worried that if one Cardinal makes one or two decisions it could all go,” he said. “Already, we are sending congratulation letters to some Cardinals and they say can we please provide a translation. They want to read them out in the church and so on. Of course, I won’t provide translations. We might as well be writing in Mandarin.”

He said reports that Pope Benedict will reintroduce the Tridentine Mass, which dates from 1570 and is largely conducted in Latin, were wrong – not least because of the Pope’s desire to avoid more controversies. A speech last year offended Muslims and more recently he gave initial support to a Polish archbishop who was eventually forced to resign, after admitting that he had collaborated with the communist-era secret police.

“He is not going to do it,” Fr Foster said. “He had trouble with Regensberg, and then trouble in Warsaw, and if he does this, all hell will break loose.” In any case, he added: “It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid. The idea of it is that things were better in the old days. It makes the Vatican look medieval.”

He condemned the loss of Latin teaching in schools across most of Europe, and said that as a result students were missing out on important elements of history. “Like classical music, Latin will always be there. If we cannot understand it, it is we who are losing out.”

Italy is, however, different: all schoolchildren, except those who attend technical colleges, must be taught Latin for at least four hours a week until they are 18. But Fr Foster said the techniques used to teach Latin were outdated. “You need to present the language as a living thing,” he said. “You do not need to be mentally excellent to know Latin.

Prostitutes, beggars and pimps in Rome spoke Latin, so there must be some hope for us.”

Last year Fr Foster was fired from the Gregorian University for allowing too many students to study without charging them.

“I was not going to play the policeman,” he said. “I was happy to teach anyone who wanted to learn. Many of my students studied for three, four, five years -without -paying a single cent.”

He argued that the only solution to the decline of Latin was for the Pope to lead by example. “Instead of a siesta, he should announce that from 2pm to 4pm every day he will read Latin at the Vatican.”

He added with a twinkle: “People who come will get assignments. You will be picked on to answer questions, and if you mess up, the Pope will make you disappear. He can do that, you know.”

Imagine someone approaching a priest to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and lying in the confessional. Then the fake penitent writes an “expose” article telling their experiences. Despite the disheartening results of the article, what the reporters did is a sacrilege. Sacraments are to never be recieved under false pretenses. To do so defaces the Sacrament and makes a mockery of it.

From the Guardian:

A yawning gulf between the stern doctrines preached by Pope Benedict and the advice offered by ordinary Roman Catholic priests has been exposed by an Italian magazine which dispatched reporters to 24 churches around Italy where, in the confessional, they sought rulings on various moral dilemmas.

One reporter for L’espresso claimed to have let a doctor switch off the respirator that kept her father alive. “Don’t think any more about it,” she was told by a friar in Naples. “I myself, if I had a father, a wife or a child who had lived for years only because of artificial means, would pull out [the plug].”

Another journalist posed as a researcher who had received a lucrative offer to work abroad on embryonic stem cells. With the extra cash, he said, he and his wife could think about starting a family. So should he take up the post?

“Yes. Yes. Of course,” came the reply.

The church’s official teaching is that homosexuality is “disordered” and that homosexual behaviour is wrong. Yet a practising gay man in Rome was told: “Generally, the best attitude is to be yourself – what in English is called ‘coming out’.”

On one issue alone – abortion – the priests all stuck firmly to official doctrine. A reporter who said his wife had discovered their child would be born with Down’s Syndrome, and that they were preparing to terminate her pregnancy, was told: “I swear to God: if you do it, you’ll be a murderer.”

But on other issues, that “moral relativism” so detested by Pope Benedict was the order of the day.

A journalist who said he was HIV-positive and used condoms to protect his partner was told it was “more of a personal problem, one of conscience”.

And from Catholic News Service:

The Vatican newspaper denounced an Italian journalist who posed as a penitent and confessed fake sins in order to write an expose on the sacrament of reconciliation.

“Fake confessions in search of a shameful scoop,” the newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, headlined a commentary condemning the cover story of L’Espresso magazine, one of the country’s leading weeklies.

“Shame! There is no other word to express our distress toward an operation that was disgusting, worthless, disrespectful and particularly offensive,” the newspaper said.

The commentary said the article had exploited the good faith of confessors and offended the religious sentiments of millions of people.
“It was a sacrilege, because it violated the sacred space in which a self-recognized sinner asks intimately to receive God’s merciful love,” it said.

The reporter made his false confessions to 24 different priests in five Italian cities, including Rome. The magazine said the idea was to see how priests handle difficult pastoral situations and whether they followed the strict norms laid out by church teaching.

The reporter, for example, told two priests he was HIV-positive and wondered whether he should use a condom when having sexual relations with his girlfriend. One told him no, and the other said it was a question of conscience, the magazine reported.

More than once, the magazine said, priests gave quite different advice on his supposed “sins,” which included matters relating to homosexuality, divorce, stem-cell research, euthanasia and prostitution.

One issue that found unanimous condemnation by confessors was abortion, the magazine said.

I broke down this weekend and purchased two items I have been wanting for quite some time. I got a FM transmitter for my iPod and a Sirius Satellite Radio.

Let me just say that both of them are awesome and I couldn’t be happier.

Now for the down side…I am disappointed with some of the programming on the Catholic Channel on Sirius. While I did enjoy hearing Rocco and Amy this afternoon, I was very disappointed in Dave and Susan Konig’s show. I have never heard their show before so this is all I have to go on. I turned the radio on this morning at 11:15 a.m. and was promptly welcomed by their telling of the Mass they “attended” yesterday.

Why is attended in quotes? Well, because while Susan attended, Dave thought it was appropriate to leave the church with their children, aged 7 and 10, to wander around the church grounds. His excuse? The church was crowded, no seats were available, and he wasn’t going to get anything out of standing in the foyer.

It got more appalling when he mentioned that his children got more religion in the churchyard then they would have in the church.

What did he teach his children? What did he teach his listeners? The message is simple. Mass is not important. It is not important enough to stand in the foyer and listen to the Mass because it wouldn’t be the ideal, prayerful environment.

Guess what? Going to Mass with children isn’t the ideal prayerful environment either, but we still bring them. A few weeks ago, I was at a Mass and there was a child in front of me who was running wild in the pew and completely distracting me. I didn’t get as much out of the Mass as I would have otherwise, but I didn’t even consider leaving.

What happened to going to church to worship God. Why are we looking for what WE will get out of it. IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT US!!!! There are times when we sill be distracted, uncomfortable, inconvenienced. There will be times when the priest doesn’t give good homilies or speaks with an accent. There are innumerable things that can cause us to get less out of a Mass than we normally would, but in the end why are we there. What is the essence of what we get out of Mass. It’s the EUCHARIST! That is what we get out of Mass. We worship God and He gives us the Eucharist…His own Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Seriously, what more can we ask for.

By leaving the church to wander the churchyard, he deprived himself and his children of the opportunity to worship before the presence of God in the Eucharist. He also deprived himself and at least one of his children the opportunity to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. In addition, he caused his children to miss their Sunday obligation to attend Mass.

The one redeeming part of the show was that Susan was not exactly approving of her husband’s Sunday activity, but she didn’t seem to have tried to prevent it.

Needless to say, I was appalled to hear this on a Catholic Radio station, much less one operated by the Archdiocese of New York. I will continue to listen and I fervently hope that this is a one time event and not standard for their program.

I will keep you updated.

Catholic Carnival 103 is up. It is being hosted by Deo Omnis Gloria.

I have submitted my post on St. Margaret of Hungary. It’s the first time I have participated in the Catholic Carnivals.

Pope John Paul II’s secretary, Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz, has written a book aptly titled “Life With Karol”. While plans for this book’s release in English have not been announced yet, it is being released this month in Italian and Polish.

Catholic News Service has posted several articles about the book.

Here are few quotes:

In his last will and testament, made public after his death, Pope John Paul strongly hinted that he had considered resignation as he prepared to turn 80 in the year 2000.

Cardinal Dziwisz said the pope, in fact, decided at the time to consult on the question with his closest aides, including then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The pope concluded that he would remain in office, saying that God had called him to the papacy and that “God will call me back, in the form that he wishes,” Cardinal Dziwisz wrote.

“At the same time, John Paul II also established a specific procedure for giving his resignation, in case he would not have been able to carry out his ministry as pope to the very end,” Cardinal Dziwisz said.”So, as one can see, he considered this possibility,” he said.

The book recounts other behind-the-scenes moments, according to excerpts provided by the Italian publisher, Rizzoli:

— On Sept. 11, 2001, shortly after two planes crashed into the twin towers in New York, the phone rang in the pope’s office in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome.

“On the other end of the line was the frightened voice of Cardinal (Angelo) Sodano, the secretary of state. We turned the television on, and the pope was able to see those dramatic images, the collapse of the towers with so many poor victims imprisoned inside.

“The pope passed the rest of the day going back and forth between the television and the chapel to pray, he said.”

He was worried, strongly worried that it wouldn’t end there, and that the attack could set off an endless spiral of violence,” Cardinal Dziwisz wrote.

— Toward the end of the book, Cardinal Dziwisz described the pope’s final moments.”It was 9:37 p.m. We had noticed that the Holy Father had stopped breathing. But only in that precise moment did we see on the monitor that his great heart, after continuing to beat for a few moments, had stopped.” Someone, he said, blocked the hands of the clock to mark the hour of the pope’s passing. Those around the pope’s bed began singing a “Te Deum” of thanksgiving, not a requiem.

“We were crying. How could one not cry! They were tears of both sadness and joy. It was then that all the lights in the house were turned on. … And then, I can’t remember. It was as if it had suddenly become dark. It was dark above me, and it was dark inside of me,” he said.

Read the complete article here.

And another:

In the winter of 1981, the pope, his secretary and two of his Polish aides decided to make a “getaway” to the mountains from the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo.

They packed into a car owned by one of the priests, in order not to raise suspicions, and when they passed the Swiss Guard post one prelate opened wide a newspaper to hide the pontiff in the back seat.

Then they drove to the central Italian ski town of Ovindoli without an escort, winding through mountain towns and carefully respecting the speed limits.

Once they arrived, they chose a deserted slope and the pope was able to ski all day long. On the way back, the pope smiled and said, “We did it!” It was the first of many such escapes, the papal secretary said.

In the beginning, no one — including journalists and other Vatican officials — knew about the mountain excursions.

And the odd thing was that, for a long time, no one recognized the pope, Cardinal Dziwisz said. He would dress as other skiers, with a ski jacket, beret and sunglasses, taking his place in line at the lifts with the rest.

One of the first people to recognize the pope was a young cross-country skier, a boy no more than 10 years old, who was lagging behind the rest of his family when he came upon the papal party. He asked them if they had seen his family go by, and one of the priests pointed to the trail.

At that moment, the pope arrived at the bottom of the slope.The boy looked astonished, pointed to the pontiff and began yelling, “The pope! The pope!”

One of the pope’s aides intervened quickly: “What are you saying, silly! You’d better think instead about hurrying up, you’re going to lose your group.”

The boy skied away, and the pope and his friends quickly returned to their car and headed for Rome before the word got out.

Read the complete article here.

If the entire book is as good as these several stories, it should prove to be a vivid view into the life of our beloved departed Holy Father, John Paul the Great. I, as a proud member of the JPII generation, cannot wait for this book to be released in English.

So, what is Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the former Papal spokesman, doing in retirement?

Zenit is reporting that he is going to be president of the of the board of advisors of the Biomedical University of Rome. It is a natural move, since Dr. Navarro-Valls is a medical doctor.

Read the article here.

Also, I came across a website devoted to him. I don’t know if it is his own site, or if it is run by an admirer, but there are some interesting links to articles about and by him.

Great idea, I wish I could go. I hope some of you can go, but as badly as I want to, I can’t.

St. John’s Seminary welcomes
J. Francis Cardinal Stafford,
Major Penitentiary of the Holy See

February 3 and 5, 2007

For Laity: Saturday February 3
4:00 pm The Role of the Laity regarding Reconciliation within the Church’s Life
5:30 pm Mass (priests invited to concelebrate; bring alb, stole)
6:30 pm Light reception (please RSVP)

For Priests: Monday February 5
12:00 Daytime prayer
12:15 Lunch (please RSVP)
1:30 The Role of the Bishop and Priest regarding Reconciliation within the Church’s Life

For Seminarians: Monday February 5
5:00 Holy Hour
6:00 Dinner (please RSVP)
7:00 Ministry of Reconciliation: with special focus on the Apostolic Penitentiary

For more information or to RSVP for meals, please contact Sister M. Pierre Jean, R.S.M.
Telephone 617-779-4369 ● Fax 617-787-2336 ● email srmpierrejean@sjs.edu

Can you guess why I can’t go? Yes, I have to play for 4 p.m. Mass. My guess is that many people who would would want to go will have to be at their parishes also. Why isn’t this on a Saturday morning?

Today is the feast day of St. Margaret of Hungary. I knew practically nothing about her until Mass this afternoon, where the Dominicans as school preached about her life and how we can learn from her example. It was powerful stuff and exactly what I needed to hear today.

St. Margaret of Hungary was born in 1242. Her parents were Bela IV, king of Hungary and Croatia and his wife Marie Laskaris. Margaret’s parents dedicated their next child to the Church if Hungary would be freed from the Tartars. Hungary was freed and Margaret was born. She entered the Dominican convent at the age of three.

When Margaret was 18, her father wanted her to marry the Bohemian king, King Ottokar II. She protested this vehemently, wishing to give her life to God and His Church. Saying, “I esteem infinitely more the King of Heaven and the inconceivable happiness of possessing Jesus Christ than the crown offered me by the king of Bohemia.”

She practiced severe corporal mortification and was known to spend each Friday in tears, contemplating the suffering of Our Lord.

Margaret died on January 18, 1271 at the age of 29.

She was canonized in 1943 by Pope Pius XII.

Now, what does this have to do with us. Well, everything. Margaret set an example for us that all the riches in the world cannot compare to the wealth of graces which come from God.

As the scripture reading for today, (St. Margaret of Hungary) said:

I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.
I preferred her to scepter and throne, And deemed riches nothing in comparison with her,
nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; Because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire.
Beyond health and comeliness I loved her, And I chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep.

Wisdom 7:7-10

What fitting words for today’s feast. St. Margaret did not turn down figurative jewels and riches, scepter and throne to serve the Lord. They were real, and I am sure they were tempting.

Serving the Lord is not always easy, actually it isn’t even usually easy. We have to think counter-culturally. We have to put aside the things the world tells us is valuable, the jewels, and trappings of power, and pick up the humility, service and self sacrifice. Those things are considered by the world to be sand, but we know the truth.

I as continue on my journey of study and service, it is easy to get caught up and lose focus. I will never become powerful, famous, and definitely will never be wealthy, but that isn’t what matters. It is easy to get caught up in the ways of the world and judge yourself against others. If I think I am holier, smarter or more talented than someone else, in reality I am more sinful, stupider, and less talented.

So, what’s the point of this? I don’t know. Perhaps, I wrote this just to sort things out in my very confused mind. I hope there is someone out there who will find this post at some time and need it just as I needed the readings and homily at Mass today. Perhaps, that is too arrogant an assumption on my part. Let’s just say I am one confused theology student trying to muddle her way though life.

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